Which players have been nominated for the 2023 Ballon d’Or?
Inter Miami playmaker Lionel Messi is in the running for an eighth Ballon d’Or, while Erling Harland and Kylian Mbappé are after their first.
There’s no stopping Inter Miami star Lionel Messi at the moment and he could well add to his collection of seven Ballon d’Or trophies when the 2023 ceremony is held in Paris in a few weeks’ time. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the former Barcelona playmaker has been rewarded for leading Argentina to their first World Cup in 36 years - and The Herons to their first ever trophy - by yet another nomination for soccer’s most prestigious individual award.
Cristiano Ronaldo again left off Ballon d’Or nominations list
Messi will undoubtedly be one of the favourites to pick up the gong, but who is most likely to challenge? Last year’s winner Karim Benzema is nominated once again, although playing in the Saudi Pro League has done nothing to bring the Frenchman’s former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won on five occasions, back into the fold.
Haaland heads Manchester City’s Champions League contingent
Instead, two (relatively) young guns look to be the main challengers. It felt as if Manchester City striker Erling Haaland was breaking records every week in 2022-23 and the Norwegian has started this season in similar fashion. Five of his Champions League winning teammates are also nominated, including captain Ilkay Gündogan, who has since moved to Barcelona.
Real Madrid or Barcelona: who has more nominees?
Robert Lewandowski, second in 2021, is the only other Barça player nominated, which means Real Madrid lead the way in this particular Clásico battle. New Blancos star Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Júnior and 2018 winner Luka Modric are all on the list, with the Croat’s inclusion meaning Messi is only the second-oldest nominee.
Were Mbappé's World Cup heroics enough?
The other big favourite is Kylian Mbappe, who won the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Qatar, scoring eight times for France, including a hat-trick in the final. The fact Les Bleus ended up on the losing side could count against him, however, as might Paris Saint-Germain’s poor form for much of 2023.
Messi is one of four Argentinian World Cup winners nominated, with goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez, and forwards Lautaro Martínez and Julián Álvarez, who did the World Cup-Champions League double, also in.
Full list of 2023 Ballon d’Or nominees
When is the 2023 Ballon d’Or ceremony?
The Ballon d’Or ceremony will be held at Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 30 October 2023.